Last season the match between the Owls and the Wildcats came down to the final minute when Aaron Boumerhi hit the game-winning field goal to break a 13-13 tie and defeat Villanova, 16-13.
Senior S Delvon Randall said it wasn’t necessarily about overlooking their opponent, it was mostly about making the adjustments. “We had a new defense last year, we were getting used to it. Our offense was kind of new, but this year I feel like we’re prepared,” the senior said.
Whatever the case may have been for the Owls, it certainly showed. In the two teams last three meetings, Temple has outscored Villanova 114-41, so they are hoping to have fixed things up from last season’s home-opener to ensure a confident win tomorrow afternoon.
QB Frank Nutile was on the sidelines last season versus the Wildcats behind the starting QB at the time, Logan Marchi, who now has earned the starting QB position at East Tennessee State. So that would make tomorrow’s affair, Nutile’s first home-opener at starting QB, but he doesn’t feel any added pressure, instead, he wants to make sure his team looks sharp. “I just want to make sure we execute the most and are really efficient on offense, and do what we do best,” said Nutile.
Villanova is coming into this game fresh off of Head Coach Mark Ferrante’s first season. Under Ferrante, the team posted a 5-6 record with wins against Lehigh, Lafayette, Towson, Maine, and their season finale versus Delaware. This game begins the Wildcat’s 121st season of varsity football. This also marks the 14th straight year that they have squared off against an FBS team, and 23rd overall since 1985, a stretch in which they’ve gone 3-19. Their most recent win against Temple in 2009.
The Wildcats are returning 16 starters from last season (9 on offense, 7 on defense), including their fifth-year senior QB Zach Bednarczyk. Last year, Bednarczyk was having a great season before being injured in the first quarter versus Towson, five games into the season. During his career with Villanova, he’s completed over 61% of passes for over 4,600 yards, 35 TD’s and 17 INT’s. He also has 264 carries for over 1,100 yards and nine TD’s.
During Villanova’s contest with Albany in week four last season, the Wildcats lost three of their top players to ACL injuries on their way to a 19-10 overtime loss. Tight end Ryan Bell, running back Matt Gudzak and safety Rob Rolle. All three of those players were major keys to Villanova’s team. Since then, all three have recovered nicely and are cleared to play tomorrow afternoon at the Linc.
Because Rob Rolle is back, Frank Nutile will have to be weary when he drops back to pass. With the return of Rolle, the Wildcat secondary gets a big boost. As a junior in 2016 when he earned first team All-CAA honors, he tallied 63 tackles, seven interceptions (led the FCS), five pass break-ups and two defensive touchdowns. Expect Rolle to come back in a big way this season, hopefully Nutile and the Temple offense can avoid being the opening spotlight of his comeback.
One interesting fact to note is that Villanova averaged more points per game last season, 21, then their opponents, 16.1. Despite averaging four more points, they finished the season a game under .500.
With a win tomorrow afternoon, Temple would go ahead in the head-to-head series between the two which is currently tied 16-16-2.
Temple looks to start their season 1-0 in tomorrow afternoon’s matchup. The game is set to kickoff at 12:00PM from Lincoln Financial Field. It will be broadcasted on ESPNNews and you can listen in on the radio on 97.5 The Fanatic.
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